The Complete Guide to Portable Desalination Units and How They Improve Your Life.


Water is one of the most important and necessary things in the world. Currently, there is an increasing need for safe water which is often difficult to find. UN found that over 1.1 billion people live in areas that do not have safe drinking water, with the number being particularly high in developing countries. This has led to worrying health issues and reliance on bottled or unsafe tap water. The good news is that there are plenty of solutions to this issue, and portable desalination units are one of them.

Figure 1. Desalination brings safe drinking water.

This article will explore the benefits of owning a portable desalination unit and how they improve your life by providing you with high-quality, purified water on demand.

What is a Portable Desalination Unit?

A portable desalination unit is a mobile water treatment device characterized by a relatively smaller size, light in weight, and low power usage and it is primarily used to eject dissolved salts from water. Portable desalination systems generally generate fresh water from brackish water and saline ocean water by effectively removing or shrinking the concentration of dissolved solids (TDS). These units employ illustrious technologies such as reverse osmosis and thermal distillation to eliminate unwanted salts and other objectionable impurities.

Portable desalination plants can efficiently provide fresh water to coastal areas, islanders, hotels, resorts, offshore oil platforms, etc. It can also be installed in RVs or boats to bring fresh water for outdoor use. This desalination process uses membrane integration to make it less expensive to obtain fresh water.

Figure 2. Portable RO Desalination Machine.

Portable Desalination Unit Working Principle and Process.

Coastal populations continue to grow immensely and this has consequently increased the number of people prone to severe freshwater undersupply. To meet the enormous freshwater demand, numerous water purification technologies have been developed including reverse osmosis and contemporary distillation. The majority of modern-day saltwater desalination machines utilize reverse osmosis technology to alienate dissolved salts from water molecules.

Reverse osmosis.

Reverse osmosis is a renowned water treatment process commonly used to eradicate objectionable salts from saline water. It is a pressure-driven process that relies on partially porous membranes to separate dissolved solids from contaminated water. Mobile reverse osmosis systems have an outstanding salt removal rate averaging between 90%-99.7%. Reverse osmosis desalination necessitates pretreatment, which is often carried out using sediment filters and carbon filters.

Comprehensive pretreatment is recommended as a preventive maintenance practice since it protects the RO membranes from premature destruction. The saline water is first pressurized by a supply pump and sent to a pretreatment system, where it is chemically dosed with biocides and flocculants before entering quartz sand and activated carbon filtration systems.

The pretreated water is then driven through the partially permeable membranes under high pressure (approximately 50-70bars), which selectively separate the dissolved salts from freshwater molecules. The treated water is harvested from the permeate stream while the eliminated impurities are ejected as brine. The linked video underneath illustrates how a reverse osmosis desalination unit works.

Benefits of Using a Portable Desalination Equipment for Your Everyday Life.

At present, in order to alleviate the problem of water shortage, some coastal cities have started to build seawater desalination systems. After the final treatment, the water quality of the produced water can meet the requirements of power station boiler operation and other requirements of users. Portable desalination equipment can be a great solution for people who do not have access to clean drinking water. By using portable desalination equipment one can have clean drinking water anywhere, anytime.

1. Portable desalination equipment is simple to operate, a key to getting drinking water.

Mobile seawater desalination equipment has no complicated operation steps. The device runs at the touch of a button and cleans automatically. Just press a button and you can get pure water anytime and anywhere. It is easy to install and operate, and highly adaptable. The system is also equipped with most of the incoming and outgoing water accessories, so you can connect water to electricity and use it directly after getting the product.

The desalination process will begin automatically and will only take a few minutes to complete. Once you have the purified water, you can use it anywhere. It’s a versatile product that’s affordable and has multiple uses. Portable water purifiers are a good idea for those who plan to walk outdoors for long periods of time.

Figure 3: marine water maker.

2. Healthy and safe water production, beneficial to your well-being.

Seawater is rich in chlorides, minerals, boron, and bromides, which are harmful to humans. Desalinated water meant to be used as drinking water must meet the stringent quality threshold set out by the relevant health authorities. A portable reverse osmosis drinking water system eliminates dissolved salts to deliver fresh water with a TDS level of 600ppm or lower.

This is generally considered to be high-grade fresh water fit for human consumption. Additionally, the resulting RO permeate, can be post-treated or refined using a befitting post-treatment system to elevate its quality. For instance, essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium can be re-injected into the water through a process referred to as remineralization while objectionable tastes and odors can be eliminated using activated carbon filters.

3. Low input cost, easy to maintain.

Most current desalination plants are expensive and require regular maintenance. In contrast, portable desalination units stand out because of their relatively low investment and operational costs. Operational costs can be lowered even further with the incorporation of solar energy. Presently, utilizing a portable reverse osmosis system to desalinate seawater will cost you approximately $0.5 per m3.

At the same time, no long-term filter maintenance is required in the whole plant, reducing maintenance costs. The device and its primary components are also quite durable meaning you do not have to spend exorbitant amounts of money on replacements and/or repairs.Figure 4 Mobile desalination system.

4. Portable desalination equipment is easy to carry, occupying a small space.

Portable desalination equipment is characterized by its small size, lightweight and small footprint. Its size can be as big as a suitcase, weighing less than 10 kg, and will not occupy a large area thereby saving you substantial space, which is presently, quite valuable.

5. Wide applicable power supply.

Portable desalination equipment can use a gasoline (diesel) generator, can also be connected to the ordinary AC current, but also can use solar energy, wind power, and other environmental resources. Portable solar desalination systems provide feasible water solutions to individuals, businesses, and industries living in off-grid regions. In addition, they are easy to operate and quite inexpensive to run and maintain.

Figure 5 Portable solar desalination system.

Choosing a Reliable Portable Desalination Unit.

Portable desalination units are an increasingly popular choice for those who need access to clean water but don’t want to be tethered to a stationary unit. In recent years, the number of distinct desalination systems has risen sharply and this can give first-time buyers a selection headache. Underneath, we look at several factors you should deliberate on prior to purchasing a portable desalination machine.

Size and Design.

Due to the differences in operational scale and scope, desalination units are manufactured in all manner of sizes and designs. Population increase over the last few decades has tremendously reduced the amount of space available to people and current property prices are insanely high. When searching for an ideal desalination unit, it is imperative that you give great consideration to the size and design of the equipment you are purchasing.

The amount of freshwater needed.

Knowing the number of freshwater gallons your application needs per day will be of immense help when procuring a portable desalination system. It is important to consider the production capacities of different units as it helps prevent under-production or over-production.

The quality of freshwater generated.

Distinct applications necessitate distinct grades of fresh or purified water. Understanding the exact quality of freshwater your application demands will greatly help you procure the perfect desalination machine. Additionally, knowing the quality of potable water needed will inform your decision on the type of pretreatment system or post-treatment system required.

The make-up and concentration of your feed water.

Saltwater desalination units are essentially used to convert brackish water and seawater into fresh potable water. However, due to the variation in concentration and composition of brackish water and seawater, different desalination systems are necessitated. When procuring a desalination unit, you should first test your feed water to establish the range of objectionable pollutants harbored as well as their respective concentrations.

Budgetary constraints.

Portable desalination units can be a significant investment, so it is important to find one that fits within your budget. In addition to factoring in the investment cost, it is also important to deliberate on the possible operational and maintenance costs. By keeping these factors in mind, you can be sure to select the best portable desalination unit for your unique application.


Considering all relevant aspects, portable desalination units provide substantial relief to communities residing in water-starved regions. In addition to supplying sufficient amounts of fresh water, portable desalination machines protect users and their loved ones from illnesses caused by consuming contaminated water. Understanding the desalination technologies, employed by desalination units and their respective pros and cons will surely help prospective buyers make informed decisions.

If you’re interested in learning more about how NEWater’s top-notch portable desalination units can benefit you, please contact us today at We would be happy to answer any questions and provide additional information.

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